- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

OGDEN, Utah (AP) - Clare Taylor is such a dedicated volunteer at the Ogden Botanical Gardens, she has an area there unofficially named after her.

Workers also use a phrase they coined with her name. “Clare-ified” means a garden looks so polished, Clare Taylor had to have a hand in its cultivation, the Standard-Examiner reported (https://bit.ly/1OaNuKp).

“Clare is our fine tuner,” said Dani Wollschlager, garden manager. “She has a vision for what something needs to look like. She is meticulous in her work.”

“We can tell when it’s been ‘Clare-ified,’” said Susie Jones, public relations manager for the Utah State University Botanical Center.

The Roy resident said she loves to fill her summers with gardening because it’s her passion. She’s been retired for 11 years.

“I feel like I accomplish something here,” Taylor said. “You just hope people appreciate it.”

Wollschlager said she believes Taylor leaves a part of her heart at the gardens each week.

Visiting the Ogden Botanical Gardens at 1750 Monroe Blvd in Ogden is a free activity. The 17-acre cultivated gardens are designed to share gardening techniques and beauty with the community.

Having a sidekick is part of the fun for Taylor. Barry Gooch of Hooper has worked as her companion for nine years. Friends from their days working at the Internal Revenue Service and from bowling, the two received special permission to take the 2007 master gardener class at the Ogden Botanical Gardens after they registered when the class was filled.

They have remained volunteers ever since.

The two dedicate about 250 hours each summer. At the end of this year, they will have each logged 2,500 hours.

Taylor and Gooch were the first couple to ever receive the Master Gardener of the Year Award from the gardens, they said.

Jones said workers and volunteers there practically have to chase the two away sometimes.

“We are locking up and they are still working,” she said.

The group laughed about times when people have hidden their tools to get them to go home.

“They work us to the ground,” Wollschlager said.

Their service includes large efforts. An edifice in one garden is made of rocks they collected in a wheelbarrow while traveling the Parkway mountain trail.

Taylor’s stories are also what set her apart. Wollschlager said as visitors come through the gardens, they often turn to Taylor for advice.

Gooch said the Ogden Botanical Gardens are meant as a learning center. All of the displays are educational to those who study the details. Visitors specifically may learn about raised beds, water wise plant selections and drip irrigation.

A hill features three different water zones and different kinds of turf.

“The purpose is to teach people,” Wollschlager said. “Our planet needs more plants, not rocks in one place.”

The place some refer to as Clare’s Garden is a new accessible space that features a wheelchair ramp.

Taylor pointed to a rock plaque in the garden with sponsors listed including herself, Superior Rockscapes and R.A.M.P. “People need to know that this is their R.A.M.P. funds at work,” she said about the Weber County tax earmarked for recreation, arts, museums and parks.

Taylor said she likes to donate several thousand dollars to the garden every other year because she can write off much of her donation. She said having that write-off excites her as she sees how she can stretch her gift.

During a tour of the space, Taylor pointed to many features, like the many Eagle Scout projects which beautify the area or a platform and a painted fence, both designed to be photo backdrops.

The Ogden Botanical Gardens is a free attraction sponsored by Utah State University, the Weber County Extension Office and Ogden City.

Many at the garden said they have one of the best kept secrets in the city. They said they often meet people who have not heard of the garden who have lived here for 50 years or more.

The garden is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Those involved ask the public to help them monitor the gardens. They ask visitors who see vandalism to call 911 and report those who do anything to destroy their space.


Information from: Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net

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